President Obama released a statement on Saturday, issuing a call to action for Americans to get serious about tackling the problem of gun violence. A day after a domestic terrorist went on a shooting spree at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic, the president was emphatic in his denunciation of the cowardly attack, and more determined than ever to keep guns out of the hands of people who have no business wielding them.
In his statement, the president said:
The last thing Americans should have to do, over the holidays or any day, is comfort the families of people killed by gun violence — people who woke up in the morning and bid their loved ones goodbye with no idea it would be for the last time. And yet, two days after Thanksgiving, that’s what we are forced to do again.
He continued by noting that the details of the shooting were still incomplete, but he added:
What we do know is that he killed a cop in the line of duty, along with two of the citizens that police officer was trying to protect. We know that law enforcement saved lives, as so many of them do every day, all across America. And we know that more Americans and their families had fear forced upon them.
He finished, by stating:
This is not normal. We can’t let it become normal. If we truly care about this — if we’re going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience — then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough.
President Obama’s remarks were not only directed at the American people, who clearly have a responsibility to curtail gun violence in this country, but they were also an implicit criticism of congress and the state legislatures which have refused to act in the face of one mass shooting after the next. While there is no one law or set of laws that can guarantee an end to mass shootings in the United States, there should at least be some political willpower to try to do something to reduce the frequency of unprovoked armed massacres.
The president must continue with resolve to push for a solution to the seemingly unending number of mass shootings that have become all too commonplace in America. Congress must answer the call. So must state legislatures. Politicians who make excuses, refuse to act, or who try to exploit the tragedy by making guns more accessible, rather than less available, should be voted out at the next opportunity.